Ipswich: I’m just glad the merchant seamen are being recognised, says arctic convoy veteran

Peter Vice , who spent time on the Arctic convoys during the war.

Peter Vice , who spent time on the Arctic convoys during the war. - Credit: Archant

IT was a huge victory for campaigners as the first group of arctic convoy veterans were finally awarded the Arctic Star at Downing Street, more than 65 years after the end of the Second World War.

But one Ipswich veteran has today admitted he has no interest in receiving the accolade.

Peter Vice, of Heathlands Park, endured freezing conditions and constant bombardment as he took part in the missions, transporting vital supplies to the Soviet Union.

And while the memories of those days are still vivid in the 88-year-old’s mind, he said he was just relieved that the merchant seamen were finally being recognised.

The great-grandfather-of-two added: “I have said many many times that I am just glad the merchant seamen are going to get it but I haven’t given it much thought at all.

“I saw them, ship after ship, being blown up.

“On the Russian waters you had no escape. If you were in the Mediterranean you could jump over the side but these people, they either burned to death on the ship or they jumped over the side and froze to death.

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“I am proud to have served with them.”

More than 3,000 people died on the missions and 40 veterans became the first to receive the Arctic Star last week – veterans were previously eligible for the Atlantic Star which was not specific to the convoys.

Mr Vice, who served in the navy for 30 years reaching the rank of chief petty officer, has received medals in the past including a Russian medal for the convoys.

During his career, Mr Vice served on 16 ships in a number of places across the world, including Korea.

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